Pretty wildflowers of copper and burnt oranges, beautifully-arranged by the bride’s mum, under the golden light of the summer sun ensured that Nadia Sayers and Calvin Lawrence enjoyed a wonderfully warm – and perfect – summer wedding.
The delighted pair were wed at Orange Tree House, nestled on the shores of Strangford Lough in the village of Greyabbey, Newtownards, on August 10, 2022, during an intimate ceremony conducted by celebrant, Enda Heart.
During the service, the new Mr and Mrs Lawrence professed not only their love to each other – but also their hopes and dreams.
On the special day, of which temperatures reached a lovely 25 degrees Celsius, Clodagh Perry was maid of honour, while Christian Perry was best man, Kodi Sayers (sister-of-bride), Laura-Jane Wallace, and Zoe McBride were bridesmaids; Nick Lawrence (brother-of-groom), Brett Sayers (brother-of-bride), and Matthew Craig were groomsmen; and the usher was Eamonn McGovern.
THE NIGHT THEY MET
Calvin, a financial analyst from Carrickfergus, first met Nadia, who is a mental health worker for ‘Hope 4 Life NI’, a model and a pageant mentor from Omagh, in the Anchor Bar, Portstewart, during the North West racing weekend of May 2015.
“My best friend and Calvin’s cousin were planning on meeting up, as they were interested in each other,” Nadia recounted. “Calvin came along with his cousin and a few friends – nursing hangovers!”
For Nadia, it was Calvin’s gentlemanliness and fun-loving personality that set him apart from the crowd, and the pair began dating in October 2015.
“He was always poking fun at little things, making me laugh, and just seemed to always be able to pull a fun time out of absolutely anything!” she smiled. “What also struck me about him were the automatic, gentlemanly things he would do, without comment or need for acknowledgment.
“Since the day we met, until today, he would move me to the inside of the footpath – and every time we have bags, he reaches for as many as he can carry before letting me carry any.
“He does these things naturally; and not just for me. He is both a gentleman and comedian – and that really stood out.”
Together for five years, it was on May 11, 2020, that Calvin, son of Stuart and Jackie Lawrence, asked Nadia for her hand in marriage in the garden of his beloved childhood home, while a firepit – lit for the pair by his parents – glowed and flickered in the background.
“I remember that he took the ring out of his pocket – after fidgeting looking for it in his oversized fleece, whilst on one knee!” Nadia said.
“I was in disbelief. The first thing I said after, ‘Yes’ was ‘…So do we tell people?!’.”
“Obviously we would do,” she laughed. “But I was just so shocked that I didn’t know what to do!”
Nadia’s gorgeous engagement ring, expertly chosen by Calvin, featured a emerald cut, with a glittering halo, and shimmering diamonds set in the band.
“It was exactly what I always wanted,” Nadia, daughter of Yolanda Dunne and William Sayers, and step daughter of Will Dunne, smiled. “I had given him a few tips, but I always felt very strongly about him picking my ring.
“The proposal was just perfect: It was just us, being ourselves, deciding to start our next chapter together.”
Nadia envisioned an intimate, relaxed and modern wedding, that was laced with traditional touches – and wedding venue, Orange Tree House, Newtownards, captured all of these elements.
“When I went for the venue’s second viewing, opened the door and felt the breeze over the lough, and heard nothing but nature, I felt so content, relaxed and at home,” Nadia said. “It’s atmosphere, beautiful stone building and amazing team were second-to-none; this was were we wanted to say ‘I do’.”
Next up, was planning for their overall theme.
“Once we had selected the venue, we wanted to warm it up, with bolder, contrasting colours against the old stonework,” Nadia described. “Therefore, coppers and burnt oranges came to mind. I always knew I wanted ‘untamed’ flowers, and after seeing how creative and bold my mum’s wedding flowers were, I knew that she could make them perfect.
“With our concept of ‘warm’ tones and bold flowers, it all started to come together!”
THE PERFECT GOWN
Wedding dress shopping featuring face masks, social distancing, and sometimes even glove-wearing due to the pandemic proved ‘slightly strange’ for Nadia, her mum,Yolanda, and granny Joan – but thankfully, helpful local staff made the oftentimes difficult process a friendly breeze.
“One of my first stops was ‘Indie Grace Bridal’ in Fintona, a two-minute drive from my mum’s house,” Nadia reflected. “I loved that this boutique always held a range of very different styles of dresses, so I was hopeful.
As soon as the trio stepped inside the door, they spotted a ‘phenomenal’ dress on a mannequin, and they agreed that Nadia absolutely must try it on.
“As I stepped out of the dressing room, I saw my mum and granny’s eyes tear up,” Nadia said. “I stood in front of the mirror and took it all in: This was it.
“It was a classic, with a modern, sexy twist, and was just so different to anything I had tried on before.
“The cut on the bust, the layering of the fabric, the subtle pearl sheet of the material… I could absolutely picture myself walking down the aisle to my future husband in this dress. It was perfect.”
THE BIG DAY
When Nadia and Calvin’s big day finally arrived, the blushing bride recalled feeling ‘so excited’, and as she travelled with her mum and bridesmaids in the wedding car – a white 1920s-style convertible Imperial – she thought to herself, ‘Let’s do this!’
The wedding ceremony was deeply personal, and filled with perfect and special moments.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been part of a ceremony with so much laughter,” Nadia said. “We were married by a celebrant, which meant that we were able to build the ceremony, personalising it with stories of our relationship and our hopes, and include our loved ones in it.
“It was personal: We told stories about how our guests played roles in us getting to this day, made promises that were practical and shared dreams that were a little less practical – but that is what dreams are meant to be.
“But most of all, it was authentically me and Calvin.”
Nadia added, “There was an aspect of the ceremony when we were asked to share three things that we loved most about each other.
“We had written these months before. and hadn’t shared them with each other. It was so insightful, and meaningful when the person you love most highlights some of the things that they love, that you tend to overlook and ignore about yourself.
“We also took a moment to remember some very important people who couldn’t be there, but whom we knew were looking over us and cheering us on, enjoying a bubbly from above.”
THE NEXT CHAPTER
Concluding, the new Mr and Mrs Lawrence said that they enjoyed ‘a dream day, spending time with everyone who had made an impact on their lives’.
“The icing on the cake was hearing that all of our guests had a fantastic day; getting to know other guests, with good food, yummy drinks and plenty of laughs,” Nadia said. “We want to thank each and every person who came and took part in our wedding.
“We always said that we wanted to enjoy our day; celebrating our next chapter with those who we couldn’t live without.
“And a special ‘thank you’ to our mums who helped ‘get the show on the road’. While Calvin’s mum took care of the bridesmaid dress alterations, and making sure the girls looked perfect, my mum took charge of all the flowers and venue decor; putting her crafty and creative hands to work to make the day look phenomenal.
“A big thank you to all.”
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